DOE directs TransCo to operate in off-grid areas

Transco, LRA team up to solve transmission lines’ right-of-way issues

The Department of Energy (DOE) has directed the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) to take on off-grid power systems that have two or more suppliers, based on a memorandum it issued earlier this month.

A report from BusinessWorld cites that the memorandum signed by Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi was issued on February 4 in compliance with the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

The memo particularly said that TransCo would serve as the system operator (SO) of eligible off-grid systems procuring power from National Power Corporation’s (NAPOCOR) Small Power Utilities Group, new power providers, or franchised power distributors.

Off-grid areas are those not connected to the national transmission system, which is comprised of the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao grids. These are located in the country’s smaller islands. Catanduanes, which was battered by Super Typhoon Rolly last year, is an example of an off-grid area.

TransCo, meanwhile, said that it has the technical capability to operate island grid systems and that it has been preparing for its new role since last year.

Cusi likewise directed the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to make sure that electric cooperatives give their cooperation support to TransCo as it assumes its new role as SO.

The DOE also ordered NAPOCOR to help in implementing the directive by providing the necessary data regarding transmission facilities and operations to TransCo.

The department further directed TransCo, NEA, and NAPOCOR to submit their plans and programs, which would contribute to the policy on the off-grid area SO, by Friday (February 26).